Use twinkle lights liberally. Don't limit yourself to the tree — white Christmas lights (with white cords) can be draped on shelves and mantels, coiled inside glass vessels or wooden birdcages, or hung vertically in the corner of a room. Covered twinkle lights make lovely accents, too, so keep an eye out for interesting versions.
Find a Dala horse. The Dala horse, a simple carved wood and often painted horse, began as a toy for children but has become a sort of national symbol for Sweden. The Dala horse is a popular decoration during the winter holidays, finding a place on windowsills and shelves just about anywhere in the home. While not as common in America, they're easily found online — just search for "Dala horse".
Decorate with cut wood. Wood in all its forms is an essential element of Scandinavian decorating at all times of year, and even more so during winter. If you have a working fireplace or woodstove, you can make an attractive and useful display with the logs you plan to use. If you have a nonworking fireplace, filling it with neatly cut logs can be an attractive way to fill the space while suggesting woodsy warmth.
Stick with a simple palette. Much of the appeal of the Scandinavian approach to decorating comes from the pared-down, neutral palette. Putty gray, natural wood and white plus a metallic hue create a peaceful mood; red, white and wood are cheery and fun.
Plant paperwhites. Any sort of blooming flowers are most welcome in winter, and the delicate white blooms of paperwhites look especially fitting alongside natural holiday decor. Cluster pots full of the blooming bulbs in the center of the dining table or along a buffet or entry table. Just be aware that paperwhites have a strong fragrance once in full bloom, so if you are sensitive to flower fragrances, you might want to choose a different plant.
Embellish branches. Another way to bring in a touch of the woods is with an armful of bare branches. Simply plunk them in a nice big vase (no water needed) and attach ornaments, holiday cards, or any embellishments you wish.
When in doubt, add a sheepskin. Whether you choose faux or the real deal, sheepskins are incredibly effective at cozifying any space. Place one where you can sink your toes into it upon waking in the morning, drape one over your sofa or place one at every seat around the dining table. Just looking at them will make you feel warmer.
Create an easy card display. If you receive a lot of cards during the holiday season, take advantage of their pretty covers by displaying them all in one place. If you can find a shopkeeper's card display like the one shown here, all you need to do is slide in your cards as you receive them. If you can't find one, attach a length of pretty ribbon to the wall and use clothespins to attach the cards.
Make a scrap-wood Advent calendar. Feeling crafty? Try creating a Nordic-style tree out of small wood scraps. It would look beautiful on its own, either painted or left bare, but you can also attach small packages to turn it into an Advent calendar.
Decorate a mini Christmas tree. When you put up the big tree, snip off a piece of branch (from a place that won't be noticeable) and place it in water to create a pint-size Christmas tree for the tabletop. I would put it in the guest room to welcome holiday visitors.
Dress the table in red and white. If you already have a set of basic white dishes and table linens, all you need to re-create this look are a few red accents. The beauty is, nothing used is too holiday-specific, so you can reuse most of the items throughout the year.
Hang delicate window wreaths. Welcome visitors in from the cold with candlelight and simple green wreaths hung from each window. You can create these quite easily using wreath forms from a local crafts supply shop and greenery snipped from the trees outside.
Make a pinecone wreath. Collect pine cones on a winter walk and bring them home to make this easy crafts project to adorn a doorway. Use craft wire or a child's wire clothing hanger (wrap with fabric or colored tape if you like) to create a wreath form, then attach pinecones with fishing line or hot glue.
Bring in the woods with potted tree cuttings. Cluster a group of vintage containers and fill them with fresh tree cuttings for a display that will last for months when cared for properly.
Get the full instructions here
Get the full instructions here
Deck the table with sprigs of green. Looking for supersimple table decoration ideas? Try this: Snip branch tips from your Christmas tree (or use rosemary branches) and place one in a clear glass votive at each place. Sprinkle a handful of small vintage ornaments in silver and gold randomly down the center of the table, and ground the arrangement with a few tall candles.
Make an ice wreath. I am dying to try this Scandinavian tradition — it looks like the perfect project for a snowy day, and it would look splendid outside at a holiday party. Just fill a container with water, then place a second smaller container inside it. Use a few rocks in the smaller container to displace water until the top is roughly at water level, then gently arrange leaves, berries and acorns in the water below. Set the containers outdoors to freeze overnight, then unmold.
Throw a Scandinavian-inspired holiday fete. Looking for something different to spice up your holiday party this year? Get inspired by Scandinavian traditions and serve spiced cookies along with warm glogg instead of eggnog, or light real candles on the tree — just be sure to use a fresh tree and have someone standing by to douse flames if need be! (See more safety tips here.)